A's prospect Jonathan Johnston shares his story about his service to the Navy that prevented him from seeking a career in professional baseball.
Machine Generated Transcript
Besides being three in the most famous names in baseball Laura hall of famers Yogi Berra Bob Feller and Pee-Wee -- Something else in common they each took a break from baseball to enlist in the navy during World War II. Now it was duty over diamond for them just as it was 41 former -- prospect as He tried to become the first Naval Academy grad. To make the big leagues in 100 years and Brazil has more. None of his. -- -- -- What's your country can do for you love America. And like you can do for your country hello this -- I love America. Life has a way of pulling Jonathan Johnston. In two directions and all started when He decided to play College Baseball for the Naval Academy. Mean had this -- -- you know one being an officer seeing kind of there's no mistake about it and the and I've always kind of gravitated toward leadership and it was a great fit for me baseball was too and I had to go there Charlottesville. Okay I mean just happening right through the right time. He just did everything with passion and just enjoy themselves so much then that. It is they've really made it easy to be around and Johnston garnered Patriot League honors as a catcher during his tenure at the Naval Academy. He's focused mostly on improving his game and getting drafted out of school. US at that time was at war whether He knew it or not Johnston commitments. Would command his future. I was ready for both I was ready to play professionally as -- I was ready. Don't be an officer on onboard ship Donovan knew if -- get into high and He also knew. That you know this this this would be day out this -- -- -- -- blows until after that I actually started researching. We'll actually have to do how much you like and do. You know play baseball -- how can I make this a benefit. The situation for both nearly two years away from baseball. Waited lieutenant Johnson after graduation. But when you return to civilian life the catcher caught on with the aids organization. When I went to king's island different than first thought and they they knew of situations and they were always. Very supportive of me. They knew that I had no control over what was going on and -- know they did just stood behind me. But a short time after realizing his dream of playing professional baseball. Johnston was called on yet again. To serve his country and his. Heartbreaking I was -- baseball's doing something that I love to do. I knew. You know it was my job is my duty to go back I was part of -- so -- Tonight my request to play in. And you have to do -- start -- just suck it up He never. Once displayed affected you know I know He did miss it. What is expected him. To an aid to countries so He was. He was honored to serve that. Johnston spent two and a half years or more this time around during which He sent multiple letters to the -- pleading his case for release. Those requests were all ultimately did not so instead He served his time and was honorable discharge that last year. Afterwards all of these experiences. Changed his priorities. It was very nice to put it. -- -- Guys in the minors it's a grind. It is a grind back to understand but I had to conclude that effective so it was enough for me it's just that's not anybody's foot chase atop dream. I'll go play ball so it's not as precise forehands and you go through. Comfortable since its environment -- have to go through with the naval officer as a sailor. You realize that playing baseball. Sure it's the Oakland organization stayed wins came through the whole ordeal. Are playing winter ball in Palm Springs He attempted comeback this spring -- creates I don't know what they -- respect that I just. -- over from in the world because. Think they have a higher regard for. At first and I -- -- problems that there's some room that hey you know what if I don't get this guy. Shot for all the right reasons Stinson extended spring training and even short call up to Stockton were the highlights. Of the time away caught up. With the catcher. Point seven. I'm not. That's a high level that I ice and analyze what's his glove work and capable of just I don't primarily do it so when I got back extended another week or two minutes. No it's not it's not always nice He sent them. It's not a positive. That kind of got me on that road thinking you know. So Johnston hung up his catching gear if you think that maybe Andy's serve -- stole away Justin's baseball career. Think again I don't have any. Regret -- bitterness or any of that it's that's so he's really ridiculous to say and anybody that knows me would say careful. Dinner or had any. Had any inclination to. Sure -- his commitment and that fulfill its commitment. You don't want people say no idea you be respectful about it we can keep going what you believe in and that's his job is done it's like run and run through golf. Turn over. Think let's take the lead -- Make the best I feel like I've done that so far and I hope I can.